So tomorrow the all day punk rock summer camp, also know as the Van’s Warped Tour, returns to Cleveland. Once again I, along with a few of my friends, will make way through the endless crowds of kids to check out some amazing punk rock bands including Bad Religion, NOFX, Flogging Molly, and Gallows.
Armed with my trusty camera (the pics in this post are from the 2007 & 2008 Warped Tour FYI) I plan on doing my best to take some killer photos to share with all my readers. I always have fun mingling with the fans and the bands and already know tomorrow will be an amazing day. I may even sneak in a couple of photo sessions or interviews too.
I can not even tell you the number of Warped Tours I have been to but I know I have attended over half of them that rolled through Cleveland since 1996. There were good times and bad times as well as times I do not even remember.
I’ve seen the festival blossom into what it is now and have watched grow as it moved from venue to venue in Cleveland. I even remember the one time it was held at the Agora! I think that was in 1997 and I do not remember any of it except for it being very cramped.
Having already recapped the 1996 Warped Tour in a previous blog, I though I would continue the fun stories although I am not sure my other Warped memories can top that dog choke chain story…
Here are a few select years I remember:
I remember this Warped Tour being at the Nautica Stage / parking lot in the West Side of the flats in Cleveland. Utilizing the parking lot the festival did not seem too cramped but I know that a whole ton of kids snuck in without paying as the fences were unguarded and short.
It was a good time although I was not feeling very well. I was having stomach issues and just did not want to be bothered by anyone. During Rancid a girl was punching people and kicking the guys in their lower abdominal area. I yelled at her for her to stop kicking people in the junk after she got me once. She went for round two to my crotch with her Doc Martin and I grabbed her foot and…well that’s all I have to say about that. Everyone in the pit cheered.
My long time friend Gary was with us and I remember him flicking off the Goodtime III as it sailed past us. The horror on the people’s faces was priceless.
Kid Rock…wow. Kid Rock was one of the closing bands for the day and I kid you not (no pun intended) there were less than twenty people checking him out. No one seemed to like him. In fact, after a couple of songs my friends and I took off as did most of the crowd. (Not even a year later Kid Rock would be opening up for Metallica)
Ha, this was the year my pal Anthony and I collectively spent over $211 on beer. Yes, $211 of our hard earned money was spent on overpriced draft beer. I had brought a lot of cash with me planning on getting some merch from a lot of the bands I was a fan of and instead thought it would be a good idea to spend it on rounds of beer.
I think the Casualties played as well as NOFX, Bad Religion, Lars Frederickson & The Bastards, Anti-Flag…Yellowcard…umm…that’s all I got. I was pretty hammered at this Warped Tour. Ok, pretty was an understatement.
About 10 beers into the day my friends and I found an area to the left of the main stage that we pretty much staked ground at when there were bands we did not care to see.
“Eiffel Tower” was born that day too. No, I am not talking about the Paris landmark, I am speaking of a cheers that takes 3 or more folk to engage in. Anthony and I would hold our beers up high in the air to a random beer drinking attendee and scream “Eiffel Tower!!!!” expecting them to hold their beer up too. At first people looked puzzled at the gesture but soon the beer drinking folk loved it and honestly I think we started something awesome that day…in fact I know we did.
In case you need more proof how much of an a-hole I can be, Yellowcard had just finished up their set and the younger crowd was leaving the main stage area because I think Bad Religion was playing and they needed to get to some other pop-punk stage. Drunk and annoyed we started yelling at the kinds “get you of here you jerks” as well as called them “phonies”. The looks of their faces was priceless.
I was that guy, that drunk guy, that annoyed everyone. Hey, I was having fun so I guess that is all that mattered. Thankfully we sobered up before the show’s end and then killed even more time afterwards ensuring no dangerous/stupid decisions were made.
This was the first year that I got a VIP pass to the Warped Tour thanks to my lady and to the Transplants‘ guitar tech Jay Bastard. This year I actually went to Cleveland and then the very next day to Cincinnati.
In Cleveland I was tame but Cincinnati was a different story. I was reunited with Anthony and even though the two of us planned on only spending little money on beer we still got hammered. “Eiffel Tower” was introduced to Cincinnati that day.
Later during the festival Anthony and I were beyond wasted looking for our girlfriends who were actually on a tour bus with Tim Armstrong (Rancid) and Jay Bastard enjoying the AC. Anthony and I were hanging on a fence trying to watch the Dropkick Murphys having no idea where to find the girls while sweating our asses off. Eventually the girls found us drunk morons and walked us back to the car.
I swore to never again get hammered at the Warped Tour. That sun was lethal and drinking did not help it one bit. In fact I think it made us drunker…haha.
This was one of those years I will never forget in my life. Not because of the festival but because of mother nature’s fury.
This was actually the first festival I would not only attend but also review for the blogging site Blogcritics.org. I was pretty psyched to have the opportunity to review the festival yet a little nervous becuase it was the first time I had ever really reviewed a festival. I was so clueless what to do or where to go but I soon figured it out. See below for a link of my review.
I drank one beer this time. My friends…did not. “Eiffel Tower” returned to Cleveland. I kept a good eye on my friends this time to make sure they stayed out of trouble. I should have kept my eye on the sky.
Around the 3 o’clock hour the blue skies turned dark and a freak thunderstorm rolled in to the Cleveland area. I remember calling my lady asking her if she was getting hit by the storm. She was at a dog park by our house and she stated it was still blue skies and had no idea what i was talking about.
This devil of a storm for some reason decided to slowly pass downtown Cleveland causing just horrible conditions, especially for folk like myself who were stuck outside with only tents to protect. The storm pounded the area with heavy rains and winds so strong I swore we were in a tornado. Everyone made the best of it because honestly, what the hell were we to do? Luckily I was under the main tent surrounded by a ton of other folk. Some kids were not so lucky hiding under bridges and wherever else they could find cover.
After the storm I walked around the grounds and it looked like armageddon. Almost all of the merch tents were either packed up or blown over and destroyed. The power was out in most of the city and there were hints of the Warped Tour not going on. Even though the rumors were brewing, not many fans left and stuck it out waiting for an official announcement.
Kevin Lyman, the founder of the Warped Tour, made way to a stage where Coheed & Cambria were to play stating that the storm was one of the worst he has ever seen. He also added that the show would go on and that they had two generators to power the two main stages. He also offered all the storm survivors an added bonus and told everyone that their ticket stubs were good for admission to any Warped Tour for the duration of the summer. I did not take advantage of that offer but some of my friends did.
As the sun set Bad Religion took the stage with a single hanging light bulb hovering over the stage. It was a bittersweet ending to one heck of a day.
Pretty tame year actually. Since earlier in the year I put drinking on a hiatus I just flooded myself with water and enjoyed such acts as Against Me!, Story Of The Year, Gallows, Gym Class Heroes, MC Chris, 3OH!3, Beat Union, The Briggs, Pennywise, and Bouncing Souls.
The day starts tomorrow at 11am. I am sure I will have some stories to share.
Until then, have a good one.